So last week, I have finally got around to ringing all my service providers (Insurance, phone, bank, super etc..) to have them change my postal address, rather than just relying on Australia Post’s awesome redirecting service.
Unfortunately this task involved a painful amount of time on the telephone, listening to automated voice prompts, being left on hold, sent to yet another department and then being put through to seemingly uninterested or dare I say, incompetent people. This is a generalisation and there were a few super helpful and lovely people; however it got me thinking about what constitutes good customer service and constantly asking myself “Is it really that hard?”
My immediate thought is like yours is a bit fat NO! But maybe it’s easier to judge than to practice? My ideas regarding customer service are simple –
· BE ENTHUSIASTIC AND SMILE
Nothing worse than being on hold for ages to be answered by ‘Huh, Max here. What is the problem?’ Well thanks Max, I’m so excited I just spent my valuable time to interrupt your super busy day, as it sounds like you would much rather be at home playing video games.
Smiling in person is obvious but especially important if you are dealing with people on the phone. It’s sounds cliché but people can hear a smile and they will like you more with, as it’s hard to be rude to a smiling person.
· USE YOUR CUSTOMER’S NAME
It’s a fact of life that people love the sound of their own name, so I love it when they use my name, as it makes me a feel a little bit special. It was interesting to note that various times throughout the week, I was asked if it was okay if they called me Rebecca, which is an interesting thought to consider, especially if you were dealing with more mature adults, who may wish to be referred by their title/surname or perhaps those stranger folks who prefer to be called by their alien name, such as Felix or Trixstar.
· PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES (Even if they are an ugly, old pair of sneakers)
This one works both ways…..But imagine how many times they have to deal with angry, crazy people who are not as level headed and nice as us. If you are the one in customer service, you should know how it feels to have been hung up on numerous times.
· THE PREVIOUS CUSTOMER IS NOT A REFLECTION ON WHAT THE NEXT ONE WILL BE LIKE
Just because the last caller was rude and angry, does not mean that I will be the same (Unless I you hang up on me and miraculously I get you again when I call back. Though we all know this never happens). Again this should also be considered for the caller being put through to another customer service assistant. The next person you speak to could be the angel that fixes all your problems swiftly and enthusiastically (They do exist but are a rare species. Treat them nice or they will become extinct).
· IF YOU HANG UP ON SOMEONE, CALL THEM BACK
I don’t care whose fault it was or why it happened (3 times with one particular bank this week) just call me back immediately. Otherwise this is the best chance that I will call back ready to explode at whoever is lucky enough to pick up the line.
· AIM TO BE THE BEST AT YOUR JOB
I don’t care whether you are the leading IT Developer at Apple or you are a checkout chick at IGA, I can’t understand why everyone isn’t striving to be the best at their job???
· KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
If you are not a people person, you are moody, don’t have great social skills or just don’t like interacting with different people, then don’t pick a career in customer service…..EASY!
Okay I will get down off my high horse now, as I am sure that I have broken all at these rules at one stage or another and almost exploded at customer service assistants (Telstra assistants at Gateway, I apologise), but each time I learn that it gets me nowhere. And while being super polite and accommodating is sometimes super annoying, it also makes me feel like I am being the better person and usually gets me what I want. (New iphone- wohoo!)
Give it a go and you’ll be surprised to see where it gets you….